|History of the current
one time, sable cockers competed in the American show ring with all other
colors. Many achieved their AKC championships.
the late 70's things started to change, and a 12 year fight ensued over
the sable issue.
wasn't until the 1990's that due apparently to Parent Club politics and
some disgruntled breeders in a private war with each other,sables were
thrown out of the show ring and so far have never been allowed back in.
have tried to get it voted back in, but politics and unethical practices
during that time by the ASC board has managed to either get the voted count
against the sable, and has since refused to allow the club to vote on this
link to the Sable Time Line below, for more detailed information about
of the problems were that the parent club didn't know where to put the
sables in the show ring, because of the overlay, according to ASC, they
weren't considered a solid color. The parti sables were shown with the
todays world, the parti sables should be shown with the partis, the black
sables in the black variety and brown sables shown in the ASCOB ring.
some still feel that solid sable isn't actually a solid and since it has
no white, the solid sables shouldn't be shown with the parti.
ago, the question was asked to why sables weren't allowed in the AKC ring
and it was answered quite accurately by Evelyn Bravo, Chantrel Cockers
I'll take a stab at an answer.
First off, sables were never
really accepted. The former versions of the standard were simply
not very specific with regards to color.
It is only the current
version (approved in 1992) that has specific colors listed in each variety
and the any color other than listed disqualification.
Sables first began to appear
in the show ring in the '70's (before my time). There were many who
did not like the color. A few, I believe 3, solid sable champions
were finished before a clause about the hair shaft being of uniform color
was added to the ASCOB variety section of the standard (I think in the
early '80's - again before my time). Since the parti section was
left untouched, and did not actually list all of the acceptable colors,
it was left to the judges interpretation as to what were allowed colors.
So in the '80's you had the situation where sable & whites were shown;
some judges put them up, some judges ignored them, and other judges disqualified
At the end of the '80's,
the AKC Board of Directors wanted to make all of the breed standards follow
a similar format.
This set the stage for the
open discussion of the standard and the proposed changes that occurred
at the 1990 Summer National in Atlanta. (This was NOT before my time.
I was there and sitting in the front row.) One of the changes proposed
by the standards committee, chaired by Dr. Al Grossman, was to specifically
list the allowed colors in each variety and add the disqualification clause
for any other color. In the new version proposed by the committee,
neither the solid sable or the sable & white color were listed in the
colors for the ASCOB or Parti variety.
It was the position of the
committee and the ASC board that the then current version of the
standard did not allow sable
& whites and judges that did not disqualify them were in error. The
membership in attendance expressed an overwhelming support of including
sable and sable & white as allowed colors.
To compromise, the ballot
that was sent out at the end of the year had two options, A & B, to
vote on for varieties and colors (I can't remember which option had what).
check out The Sable Timeline link at the end of this post
One choice had sable listed
in ASCOB and sable & white in Parti and the other did not.
Here is controversy point
#1: the ASC constitution specifically states that changes to the
standard are to be presented where you check a vote "for" or "against",
not check "A" or "B" as was done.
Controversy point #2:
(Keep in mind that a 2/3 majority of the number of votes cast is needed
to approve a standard change.) There were several ballots returned
with neither the "A" or the "B" box checked, in essence, abstentions.
According to Robert's Rules
of Order, abstentions are not counted when calculating the total number
of votes cast.
If the ballots with
neither box checked are regarded as abstentions and not used in determining
the total number of votes cast, then the option with the sable and sable
& white color had the 2/3 majority votes cast for approval. The
ASC board counted the blank ballots in determining the total number of
votes cast and the allow sable option just missed having the 2/3 majority
to pass. Since neither option had the required 2/3 majority to pass (according
to how the ASC did the counting), the section on varieties was left unchanged.
However, the new disqualification
section, which had the any color other than those listed clause, did pass.
The AKC board refused to approve the standard with the new revisions because
it now had an "any color other than those listed" disqualification clause,
but the color variety section did not specifically list the colors.
In late 1991, the ASC board
sent out another standard change for approval. The accompanying letter
(and I wished I had saved it) said things like the AKC board insists we
have this vote before they will approve the standard change, it is a mere
formality, etc. The letter never mention sables. The standard
section that was sent to be voted on with a "for" and an "against" boxes
to be checked was the color variety section from the first ballot that
did not list sables or sable & white.
The ASC board did not send
out the section that has just barely not passed (or really passed if you
go by Robert's), but the section that had what they felt was the correct
interpretation of the colors allowed by the then current standard, ie,
no sables. Busy with the holidays, many ASC members just checked
the "for" box and mailed it back in, never realizing until told later
that they had just voted to exclude sables. The vote passed
with an overwhelming majority, the AKC board approved the new standard
and it went into effect the spring of 1992. Five years later, a petition
to change the standard to allow sables had enough signatures to cause a
vote. The 1997 vote had a majority, but not a 2/3 majority and did
With regards to why the
color sable is not accepted by many, a persistent
rumor is that it got into the cocker gene pool via a beagle. A
black bitch named Jolee Buttons, owned by Ed McCauley of Birchwood
cockers, produced the first modern sable offspring. Ed's father,
with whom he lived, had a hunting pack of beagles, which was what started
the rumor that Jolee got with a beagle to make the sables. There
are two things that make this rumor ridiculous:
(1) the beagle pack
was all female.
(2) the gene that
makes the sable color in cockers is a different gene than the gene that
gives the beagle it's color and saddle pattern.
There was some evidence that
the board was trying to keep pro-sable people from joining ASC just before
the 1997 vote. When the board was not allowed to discuss the membership
candidates behind closed doors, they tabled everyone's application to the
As to what it will take to
get sables voted in, my answer dead bodies. Too many high mucky-mucks
within ASC have in effect (if not in actuality) said "sables will be admitted
over my dead body." In all seriousness, until these people are out
of the picture I do not see sables being allowed.
Now please, don't anybody
take this as direction to go out and kill anyone!!
Fortunately, most of these
people are already senior citizens. I'm sorry if this seems negative and
down. As scarce as majors are, I sure wish sables were being shown!
Hope this answers your questions.
Evelyn with a little rescue
For more info,check out The
Sable Timeline (this
is offsite, so you'll have to hit back in order to get back to this website)